Friday, May 13, 2016

Build a helping hand/ grabber

A grabber is a great tool for the workshop. With a long reach and a claw for gripping it can pick up even the most difficult looking items. It also has a magnet on the end so you can pick up small metal parts like screws, nails or those tiny drill bits.


I always try using what I find in my shop. I received a bunch of oak flooring from a friend and since it is hardwood it will work fine for this project. 
To start I ripped a small piece for the arm. 


The arm will be 25" long, the height 3/4" and width 3/4". For the dado I set the blade  1/2 inch high and ran it through the table saw moved the fence and then again. This gave me a thickness .35 inches.

                      Here is a template  I traced for the three parts on a 
                      8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

              Grabber       trigger            handle    

The drawing on the board may look a bit rough but I design as I build. Things can always be altered and cleaned up. After cutting and sanding you can make these parts look  great.   

Small parts table saw jig                                                                          

The handle has to fit securely in the arm so I had to build this jig to hold the handle. It will allow me to cut a notch in the handle to fit snug in the arm. 

Now the handle has a correct size notch in it, it fit perfectly thanks to the jig.
It can now be glued together.


I wasn't sure if the handle would be strong enough on the arm so I took a precaution and added some extra sides. I cut two blanks of oak and glue them onto the handle.

After a little bit of cleaning with the bandsaw I took it over to one of  my favorite tools, a small spindle sander. This gave me a nice clean shape.

Time to add the trigger. After I lined it up I made a small mark where I wanted to drill. It is important to use a drill press to keep everything lined up.

Some finishing nails are used for the pin, they should be slightly larger than the hole then they will keep things in line and there will be no play.

Drilling the grabber...

A spring is added to the grabber. You can buy a small one or check out my video here - make your own springs .

A string is attached to the grabber and fed through the arm to the trigger..

 String is tied to the trigger

I tried to pick up my glue bottles and there was no problem

                    A 1/2" magnet is added the the end. I used Gorilla glue to hold the magnet and it worked out fine. I picked up this small drill bit, I tried some smaller bits and other small metal parts and this grabber worked great.

On the end of the grabber I used a small file to make some small notches, this will help give it a better grip.


                                   Testing picking up a pencil.

A helping hand grabber is handy for any shop, it will make your life easy and can save your back. I think you will get a lot of use out of it. The magnet and the gripper both  work great. Whether you are picking up a small tool or a small nail. 

This is a handy tool for the workshop or for the home. 

I hope this step by step and the video will help you to make one.                                                                                           

 See also:

     Magic knife holder          Large compass            Mini speed square



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